John Gray - The Break Out
I wanna let you know who this message is for this morning. This message is for those like me, who by choice or by circumstance, have found yourself stuck in a moment. Have you ever been stuck in an emotional moment, frozen in a bad decision? Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a situation that you couldn't break free from? Ever had a habit you couldn't shake? Ever been in a relationship you wish you could walk away from, you just didn't have the strength? Felt like you were enclosed, and no matter where you looked, there was nothing but brick walls. You looked above, there was no light. You're just stuck.
Anybody ever been stuck in life? This message is for you. This message is for those who, like me, have found themselves hoping beyond hope that somehow, there would be a breakthrough. Anybody ever prayed for breakthrough? Anybody ever prayed for God to do something significant, to shift something? Our pastor has been declaring all year that the shift is on, and that is the word of the Lord, but sometimes, even in the shift, feels like you shifted and you're still in the same place. You just shifted, and now you can see your prison from another perspective. Oh, I never saw that wall before, let me shift again. Oh, look at that. It's the same kinda brick as that wall over there.
And sometimes, it's hard to break free. And I want you to go to Acts, chapter 16. I'm reading from the new King James version, and my voice is gone, 'cause the 8:30 people, we were in here acting up. Shouting and just, they were being just unreasonable with their worship. And I believe it's gonna happen in here, too. There comes a moment when it just can't get any worse. Just when it rains, it pours. It was raining out this morning. Sometimes you feel like you looked outside, anybody ever felt like that? Just walking, I was like, well, it might as well rain, it's been raining in my life.
I ain't got no umbrella there either. I might as well just let my hair get wet, it don't even matter. But even with that attitude, you're just in the car, just, I don't even know why I'm going. I just, I'm gonna go, I don't even know why I'm going. I know you told me to go, Jesus, so I might as well go on to church, but these people get on my nerves. They don't know how to drive in the rain down here, Jesus. But you pressed through, and you're here this morning. And God is about to meet you at the point of your need. There is a moment when it just doesn't get any darker.
And I wanna talk to anybody who, for any place in your life where there is that moment, I want you to know, God's about to do something real crazy to get you out of it. We're gonna pick up a story in the middle, acts chapter 16, verse 25 is where I'm gonna begin reading. It says, but at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately, not ten minutes later, not after service, not on the way to the parking lot, not on your way to your favorite restaurant, I won't say names, 'cause we don't give out free advertising. Immediately, immediately.
I want you to know that what God's about to do is about to be right now. It's a right now moment. You didn't know it when you came in, it just looks natural, but there's a supernatural component to your faith, and it started with your mindset. You had a mind to get to the house of God, and God had a mind to meet you here. But God is super, and you're natural, so the supernatural cannot help but to happen. God's about to move right now. Does anybody have right now faith? Does anybody need a right now move of God? Not Monday morning, not Tuesday afternoon, not Sunday evening, but right now, God, do it, shift it, change it, shake it, shift it, break it. Anybody other than the nine people this way, I just need to know if I'm in the right church.
It says immediately, all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed. I need you to know that there have been some doors that have been closed in your face. Hey, we're sorry, the position's been filled. Hey, why don't you try next month? Maybe in a couple months. Hey, you know what? Maybe you should think about another career path. You know what? We didn't find any extra money for you to go to school. You know what? I'm thinking we're gonna give the promotion to somebody else. You know what? Maybe another time for that dream or that hope, or that idea, and maybe never.
You know what? All of those doors that were closed, I don't know who I'm talking to, this is not the season to knock on doors. God's gonna open the doors himself. I'm not knocking on another door. If I have to knock, that's not my door. Because in this season, God's opening the door himself, and I'm walking right in. They're gonna be like, who are you? I'm the one you've been waiting for that you didn't even know you needed. Hey! Let me calm down and focus. It says, all the doors were opened, and everyone's chains were loosed. So Dr. Paul, that means the door that God opens for me is gonna loose chains for the people around me. So my blessing is going to be freedom for those connected to me.
Somebody should get a prophetic praise right there, because there are people that need you to be blessed, in order for them to get free. Do you know your family situation is gonna change when God opens that door for you? Do you understand cousins and aunts and uncles are gonna come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ, because of what God does in your life? Do you know the sacrifice that it took to get here this morning? God's gonna honor you all the way up by the American flag, I see you, but more than that, God sees you. God knew what you had to do to get through today, and God's gonna reward you today.
Does anybody have right now faith? The Bible says, and the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep, that's funny to me. 'Cause you were asleep on your job. You're good enough to get a job in this economy, and you're asleep. Okay, not this economy, but you know what I'm saying. And seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. Because he knew that when his supervisors found out, he was asleep, you let 'em go, it's your life for theirs. He said, before they take me out, I'm gonna do it myself.
How many of us have tried to self-destruct? How many of us saw something bad and said, well, it can't get no worse, I might as well drink this, smoke this. I might as well continue in this destructive relationship because I've already messed up beyond repair. Watch this, there's hope for you. Right when he was about to end it all, Paul called out with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here". What I wanna preach, and I am gonna preach, from the subject of, is the break out. The break out. I'm gonna honor my pastor today, because this book is a significant shift in the thinking of the body of Christ and those that are going to come into the knowledge of Jesus.
And I believe, first things first, since it came from our pastor, then the first break out should happen inside the house. Anybody got a belief that God's gonna do something significant in the next 15 minutes? Well, I'm gonna stand on the back of my pastors, and I'm gonna declare the break out. This scripture starts with Paul and Silas inside of a prison. Now, this is not like, you know, jail here, 'cause jail here is more like a country club. From what I heard. I don't know, but you and I both have a cousin that's in there. We don't tell anybody. Every other Saturday, we drive out there, I'm just joking.
This was prison, prison. Dirt floors, bugs crawling around, ain't no restrooms, it's just wherever you can do what you need to do, that's what it is. Terrible conditions. Roman prison is no place to be, 'cause most people don't come outta there alive. Paul and Silas found themselves in a terrible situation, and it got worse. It's one thing to be in bondage, it's another to have no light in the midst of the bondage. You ever been in a situation, at least you had a little hope and then even that hope that you had somehow, even that went away, and now it's just midnight? What do you do when midnight comes? How do you respond in a midnight situation?
Paul and Silas offer a startling contrast to their circumstance. The natural response is, we gonna die! This is crazy, I shouldn't have ever listened to you. Preaching about Jesus, now we're gonna die. I want my mama! And they were in prison for their faith. They were in prison, and if you read the back story, they were preaching in the city, and there was a demon-possessed girl, who would follow them around while they're preaching, and she would agree with their preaching.
Now, I'm a comedian, so I'm imagining how that works, so Paul's preaching, "Jesus is Lord"! And that lady's, "I know that's right! You better tell it"! The Bible says Paul became greatly annoyed. "Lady, if you don't shut your mouth...", "I'm just saying, what you said is right. You better preach"! Normally, you'd want somebody to agree with your preaching. The problem is, her life didn't line up with her confession. It's never what you say, it's what you do. And the woman had no fruit to go with her confession, so therefore, her words carry no weight.
So Paul said, "I'd rather you not say anything, 'cause people know you for the way you live, and even though you're agreeing with us, you're actually doing more harm, 'cause you're not living what we're preaching". So he confronted this woman, he said, "I bind that devil in the name of Jesus. Come out of there"! And the Bible says from that hour, the demon left. The problem is, she was owned by a couple of men who were making money off of her ability to tell fortunes. She was one of those people who could give you the lottery numbers, and you'd win. Look at y'all, some of y'all are like, dag, really? Is it any of 'em still around? I'm just asking, I'm just... Stop it.
So the men who owned this woman said, "Alright, now they're messing with my money. It's one thing to preach, now you're messing with my livelihood". I want you to know, there are people that just don't like you. And they don't like you, not because of what you've done, but because of who you carry. You represent Jesus everywhere you go, and light and dark cannot dwell together, so your light makes them uncomfortable. You haven't done anything to them, you've been honorable to them, they just don't like you, and it's hurt your feelings.
And you're sometimes like, how come they won't go for coffee with me? And how come they don't go to lunch with me? And I don't understand. And why not? And here's why. You carry Christ, and they don't want Jesus. And you know what? That's between them and God. You keep serving God. You keep living holy, you keep raising the standard. You keep walking in integrity. You stay in a place of high moral character. So the men grabbed Paul and Silas, brought them to the city center, said: man, these guys are preaching something we don't even know about.
Some guy, a little baby named Jesus, he was in a manger, his daddy was a carpenter, something about, you know, he died and he rose again, stuff we're not even supposed to be, we're not even allowed, as Romans, to even be listening to what he's saying, and he done came in here and stirred up the people. You need to put him in jail. Kill them, they're messing things up in the city. They're messing up the status quo. There are people that are uncomfortable because you interrupt the status quo.
I feel like what my pastor just said, pastor Victoria said, "You're the thermostat, not the thermometer. You set the temperature in the room. When you walk in, things change. People who ain't doing right, when you come in, they start fixing themselves, trying to change things around. They change what they're looking at on the internet, because they know what you stand for. God says that's the work of the Holy Spirit". Anyway, a lot of good the Holy Spirit did Paul and Silas, because they went to jail. And they got beaten, before they went to jail.
So they're in the jail, with a whole lot of other prisoners. This is a bad situation. This is a bad situation, and how am I going to respond? How you respond in your midnight is the core of who you are. What do you do when midnight comes? When midnight hits your marriage, what do you do? You get on my nerves! Welcome to the club, you get on my nerves too. Ugh, I shoulda listened to my mama. Yes, you shoulda listened to your mama! I wish you would listen to your mama! What do you do when midnight hits your marriage? What do you do when midnight hits your relationship with you and your teenager?
Mom, I just need you to understand that I'm almost 13 years old, and I really need my own space. And I need you to respect who I am. You just can't walk in and out of my room, you'd better knock. Before you send her to see Jesus early... What do you... Jesus, you'd better help me, you'd better help me! I brought you in this world... Take you right outta here! What do you do when midnight comes? What do you do when midnight hits your finances? Let me check, ooh, this checking account, this don't even look right.
Let me check my savings, see, 'cause my checking is connected to my savings, see, and then I got overdraft protection, and then... What do you do when the yellow note turns into a pink notice, into the dark red notice with the black letters? Mr. Gray, it's been 60 days. Do you plan on making a payment? No, sir, I just know that Jesus paid it all. Y'all call me back! What do you do when you're trying to make ends meet? Do you stay in faith, or do you sneak over to the embassy suites hotel for breakfast like you were staying there? Just walk in, just stand in line, don't say nothing, don't say nothing. They don't check keys, they don't check the keys. They got good breakfast over there, I'm just saying. Alright.
What do you do when midnight comes? Paul and Silas did something strange, when it couldn't get no darker. They started singing hymns, in the middle of the worst possible situation. I don't know if Paul started it or Silas, and I don't know what they sang, I just know the hymns that we sing. So I'm just trying to imagine what a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer so Silas chimed in, and starts singing, and oh, what peace we often forfeit and oh, what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer and the Bible says, the prisoners were listening. They weren't even singing for themselves, they were singing for the ones that had lost hope, and had no song to sing.
Oh, my God. Do you know, sometimes, people can't sing anymore. They're all faithed out, and they need your song to refuel their faith. They're listening because they needed to hear a sound of deliverance in the middle of a midnight. Do you know what Paul and Silas were doing was the core of who they were? When it can't get any worse, I'm going to praise. They began to pray and sing praises to God. Now why in the world would you start praising in the middle of a prison? Unless you know who you were singing to.
Now, I know that we all have given God conditional praise when he does something good. Anybody been grateful when God does something good in your life, yes? God, I thank you. I got the promotion. God, I thank you, 'cause I got the car. God, I thank you, you blessed us with a house. You know what? That's great. It's great to praise him when God blesses you, when favor shines upon you. But can you praise at midnight? I'm talking to somebody in that fifth section. Can you praise in the middle of your tears? Because that's where maturity is developed. Spiritual maturity is developed at midnight. It's in the middle of the darkest moments that you see what you're made of, and Paul and Silas said, I'm not gon' let this prison determine the trajectory of my praise. I'ma keep praising, and if nothing changes, my perspective is gonna change. I'ma keep singing and the Bible says, the prisoners heard them.
They were listening, and while they're singing, suddenly, there was a great earthquake. Are you telling me that my praise can shift the earth under my feet? I'm helping somebody. It said Paul and Silas, pastor don, which means I need somebody to agree with me. If I can get just one person to agree with me, even in the middle of a midnight situation, there can be a breakthrough that changes everything, not just for me, but for everybody who can hear me. So you're telling that if me and Michael start praying and singing praises, then everybody in this section can get free because two people agree? Two are better than one, and a three-fold cord is not easily broken.
Are you telling me all I need is one person on my row to worship with me and everybody on my row gets delivered? If you're a praiser, can you find somebody else on your row? Maybe in your section. All it takes is two. Somebody in the balcony. Somebody at home. If there's nobody with you, high-five yourself. Hey! Make your spirit get in agreement with your emotions. And say, I'ma praise the Lord. I think I will, I'll join you, all right, you go first. God, you're worthy, yes, he is. God, I praise you, yes. God is good, yes, he is. God is a healer, yes, he is. God is a restorer, yes, he, is. God is faithful, yes, he is.
Every now and then, if nobody else is around, encourage yourself! Yes! Praise counts more at midnight. It counts more because it costs more. It costs me more to praise when I can't see. Now I'm praising out of faith. I don't even know if this praise is getting past these walls. I don't know if my praise is getting past my bondage. I don't know if my praise is getting past my situation. I want you to know that as you praise, you're praising God, so even if your praise can't get out, God's coming in.
Oh! It's about to be a praise break in this church in about two American minutes. Did you hear what I said? Even if your praise can't get you out of your situation, your praise is a signal that God's coming in. Is it not your Bible that says God inhabits the praises of his people? Did it say he only inhabits the praises of his people when you're in a nice situation? No, wherever you praise, that's where he's coming. That's why God says, praise me at midnight. Because I am the light of the world. If you praise, I'm bringing light with me.
Light is symbolic of revelation. I'll give you a perspective on this thing that you never had. Once you start praising me, you're gonna see things through a different lens, a different filter, a fresh perspective. God wants to break you out and keep you there. Why would God do that? I'ma answer that question in four minutes. But right now, Paul and Silas are praising and singing praises to God. Suddenly, there was an earthquake. I want you to know that your praise has shifted things in your favor. An earthquake is when the earth plates, there's a tectonic plate, and when they have friction, one of them shifts the other and the earth moves. Literally, everything under you moves, which means on a foundational level, God's about to shift you into the place of promise.
I don't know who I'm talking to, but your praise has shifted you into a whole nother level of destiny, and favor, and abundance, and overflow, and increase. I wish I could get somebody who would agree with me. Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at midnight. Faith is different from sight. We walk by faith and not by sight. It was midnight. With your natural eyes, it doesn't get any darker than midnight. But faith doesn't see midnight. Faith sees the beginning of morning. You know, midnight, the prophet, Michael Jackson, declared, it's close to midnight not a prophet, okay. Midnight is 12 a.M., a.M. Is ante meridiem. It doesn't get any darker, but a.M. Is two letters that signal what? Morning.
It's midnight, but it's morning. How is it dark and light at the same time? How is it that even though it's midnight, the light is about to shine? If I can just keep praising, at some point, the son will come up, and the son will come out, and I'm not talking about s-u-n, I'm talking about the s-o-n. I want you to know, if I keep praising, the son will shine on my circumstance. The son of the living God will rise. Rise and shine for your life has come.
Now, here's where the story gets interesting. Paul and Silas pray, singing praises to God, suddenly, there's an earthquake. And all the doors are opened. Now, if I'm in prison, and they about to kill me, and I see that door open. You don't hear me. You wouldn't even remember what my cologne smelled like. I'm outta here. I'm gone, leave everything, let's go! They don't even do DNA or fingerprints, they can't even find us. Let's get us a couple camels and let's run out in the desert. They ain't even gon' find us. You don't even know.
Pray, sing praises, earthquake, doors open. It's my opportunity to leave. My midnight is over, I prayed, God opened the door. On your mark, get set, stay where you are. You're supposed to say, on your mark, get set, go. But God says, on your mark, get set, stay right there. But you opened the door. Yeah, I wasn't trying to break you out. I was trying to break in. The door opened from the outside. God was trying to get into the prison.
The church is always concerned about changing our situation and God is saying, I need you to step into prisoners' situations, into the mindset of the broken. I need you to get into the life of the ones that struggling with drugs, struggling with life's issues, struggling with identity, struggling in the middle of divorce, struggling with all manner of vice and demonic oppression. I want you to get into the prison because when you go, I go with you, 'cause I'm in you. Lo, I'm with you always, even until the end of the age.
God says I'm sending you into circumstances, and I want you to stay right there. And some of y'all, you're like, no, no, no, I don't receive that, no. If that door opens, I'm gone. God says, I know your family is crazy. I put you in that family on purpose to be the light. Don't you, you better be there on thanksgiving. Hey, uncle Leroy, hey, cousin Tony.
Naw, I don't want no 40, no, I don't want no joint. We gon' be here all day. We gon' stay right here, me and my family. We gon' be light right here. You don't even know I'm praying in the spirit while y'all eating, playing cards and dominoes. I'ma be right here, I'm not leaving. I'm not going to leave until things change. I'm the light in the situation. Even though there's bondage in your family, you're the one that has a key to their deliverance because of who's inside of you.
God wasn't trying to break you out, he was trying to break in. And I want you to know that this moment, this Sunday, this is the beginning of the fourth quarter. Pastor said October, November, December. God's got three months to do what he promised in 2013. That would make it the fourth quarter. And when it comes to the fourth quarter, the game's not over till zeroes are on the clock. I want you to know that if God promised it, he's got a good three months to make it come to pass. And I want you to know, God specializes in comebacks. God specializes in hail Marys. God specializes in goal line stands. God specializes in running through the blocking of the enemy and getting you to the intended destination.
God says, I got the fourth quarter. I love a good story. Nothing better than a comeback from a big deficit at the end of a game when all hope is lost. It just makes God look that much greater. I want you to know, God's about to break out in your life. He's broken into your circumstances, and what's gon' break out is favor, abundance, overflow, increase, joy, healing, power, strength, victory. Now, I'm preaching better than you're shouting, but I'ma go ahead and give you a second to let it sink in. That if God promised it, he is not a liar, it must come to pass. The breakout, what this book symbolizes is a prophetic declaration of God. Where you've been is no more. The shift is on. I'm breaking you free from the mental bondage, demonic strongholds, spiritual oppression, relationships that have held you hostage. I'm breaking you out of all that. I'm breaking you out.
Watch this. Paul said, don't kill yourself, jailer, we're all here. Bible says the jailer ran, fell on his face, said, sir, what must I do to be saved? I want you to know the keepers of some of your prisons is gonna come into the knowledge of Jesus because of the way you responded in your midnight. That supervisor that just constantly goes after you is gonna say, hey, can I come to church with you? I saw your pastor on TV, I really like him. Something different about him. Yeah, he's got integrity and he loves the Lord. You should come on and before you know it, people who used to be your enemies are going to come into the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The man who had the keys ended up getting unlocked himself. 'Cause you can't be a prison keeper without being in the prison yourself. Some of these people that are miserable, they don't wanna be that way, they just need a key. They need the key of grace, the key of forgiveness, the key of a new life found only in Jesus Christ, and guess who's got the key? You. God sent you there to free them. Paul said, you want salvation? Believe on Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and you and your household will be saved. You telling me that one man in a midnight moment can get saved and it changes his whole family? Yes, you telling me that once I confess Christ, I can cover my son, I can cover my daughter, I can cover my family? Everything in my house is gon' be saved. My wife, my son, my daughter, the dog, the cat, the goldfish better be speaking in tongues in that fishbowl. You better praise him, Nemo, you better praise Him.
I want you to know that God has determined that this day marks a prophetic breakout in your life. God is gonna break out in supernatural ways in every phase of your life if you will give him a praise that will cause him to break in to the middle of your circumstance. So for anybody who's had a midnight, I encourage you to give him a praise right now that'll cause him to break into your life.
God, we're here on a Sunday afternoon, giving you a midnight praise. We don't understand it all. Some of it doesn't make sense, but we trust you, and we're gonna praise until the breakthrough occurs. God, break into our circumstance and break out in our lives. Break out in our families. Break out in our marriages. Break out with our children. Break out in our finances. Break out in our health. Break out in our hopes. Break out in our dreams. Break out break out, break out!
There are people who need to hear your praise to free them. The prisoners are waiting for somebody with enough faith to praise in the middle of midnight. There are people who are in bondage that don't know your song, they don't know how to shout, they don't know how to lift their hands. All they can do is listen to you. They've run out of hope, they've run out of faith, but when you sing, it changes their situation. When you praise, it gives them strength to go on. When you shout, it gives them hope that God is who God says he is. Christ alone, Cornerstone, weak made strong in the Savior's love. Through the storm, he is Lord, Lord of all. He is the Lord of the day, he is the Lord of triumph, but he's also the Lord of the midnight. And if you can praise him in your midnight, you're gonna see everything in your life shift in your favor. Let me pray for you.
Father, I thank you for breakout. Thank you for breaking into our lives through the love of Jesus Christ, breaking in with healing, with fresh revelation. Breaking in with new life and new joy. And God, once you broke in, you left blessings, and now, the breakout has occurred. Now God, we've got the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now we've got a word of knowledge. Now we have received your healing. Now we've received salvation. Now we have what we could never own and possess. You've given it to us for free. Thank you for breaking out in our lives.